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Philosophy of Education
by Dr. Jerry R. Griffin

               I first developed the fundamental principles of my philosophy as a graduate student at Southern Methodist University.  It is one that has not only guided me in my educational development and that I have used in teaching continuing education courses, undergraduate and graduate courses, but also in motivating students at all age levels.  It has proven both valid and reliable as a basis for course development and teaching throughout the years.  It consist of a subset of principles and assumptions that must be used to establish the basis of the learning process. 

Learning Is A Life Long Process

             When I first learned and made this principle one of my educational values I was involved in a college education experience.  Certainly while it seems to be addressed to the college level or adult students, a closer analysis shows that it is really a principle that must be applied at the secondary and high school level for it to be effective.  It’s basis is that we never stop learning, regardless of age, and that the more you are involved in learning the better student or community member you will be.  However, if we do not teach this to younger students they will never adapt this as something that applies to their life.  I recall discussing this with older students, and while at one level they could ‘buy-into’ the concept, it was not an emotional feature of their learning processes.  Therefore by making this an ‘emotion’ and ‘value’ to younger students when they become older they truly will continue their learning journey. 

Learning Must Be Active

             While you can ‘learn’ something in a passive state, the highest learning takes place in an active state.  A student should be ‘actively’ involved in learning both through his or her emotions, and by doing.  While this is stressed at the adult level I believe that students at all levels need to be actively involved in the learning process.  By becoming participants and ‘actors’ in learning, the things they learn will not only have more meaning but will help them as they apply their learning to new learning situations. 

Learning Must Be A Value

             Inherent in the first principle of Learning Is A Life Long Process is the fact that learning is a value.  Most values are learned at an early age.  It is thought that many of our core values are with us by age 5.  However, I believe that through education and environment even core values can be molded.  It is important that students in all age groups adopt learning as a core value.  The basis of this must come from family, but through an enhanced educational system teachers with that same value can assist in instilling it in his or her students. 

The Most Important Thing About Learning is Learning How To Learn

             While learning of subject matter is vital, subject matter is more easily learned if a teacher can help students learn how to learn.  This is done by not only exposing students to the life long value of learning, but by teaching them active and passive learning methods that they can adapt to all their learning situations.


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